It’s Hard To Separate Culture From Technology

Posted by Neil Davidson on January 8, 2016

It’s Hard To Separate Culture From Technology

It’s an old adage that most companies will appreciate today ‘culture eats strategy for breakfast’. This might explain then, why the avalanche of my conversations during the last year, with most CEO’s of global companies, has been centred on the affinity between financial outperformance and high performance culture.

I wondered then if there was still room for the bright question of whether technology can offer the chance to harness both culture and margin. "I believe it can. I believe it must. And I believe that, at its best, it does." That is to say, technology has the sophistication to drive culture and front line action, beliefs held sacred to companies serious about servicing the client. I use the word sacred, from the Latin sacrare ‘to set apart as holy’, because it is this advantageous that the majority of organisations are striving to achieve. To set themselves apart, and proclaim and preserve that which allows them to outperform their rivals.

Whilst there is much to cover on this subject I would like to concentrate on two principle points, namely:

  • how technology can help underpin your culture and values worldwide, 
  • and how it paves the way for a more rounded response to the all-important client.

Underpin your values worldwide

To my mind, the best argument in favour of the principle of aligning technology and culture is not simply an appeal to rationality, but to its place at the heart of any organisation.

Highly motivated, technologically sophisticated companies appreciate that culture is a business issue which has significant impact on their ability to generate a return on investment. For the vast majority of my own clients it’s a huge shift away from the jumbled, half examined information to transparent data at a well-defined point, with user friendly systems and accessibility anytime, anywhere in the world. The restoration of technology to the sphere of the personal is the nettle that all companies must grasp in order to compete.

It is crucial that the company’s values are underpinned worldwide across the organisation throughout their multiple geographies. We routinely see that a standardised solution is crucial to promoting a unified culture. It provides companies with an edge and efficiency based on their own business principles. It encourages employees to drive performance, and have a bias to action.

It should also be obvious that any limitation placed on employees to collaborate and share a common language of engagement and efficiency interferes with that which is essential to the business; namely to converge, innovate and break barriers. What we want is to provide employees with the means to act in the best interest of the company and with a solution that supports new business propositions.

Perhaps most significantly, the right technology allows my clients to transform themselves to meet the challenges of an ever-evolving market place as well as their increasingly empowered clients.

What’s in it for the client?

Profoundly, the right technology gives top performing companies the ability to orient outwards. They are better equipped to pre-empt issues and pressures for a meaningful and sharp focus on their client needs, domestic and global.

Today it’s very much about reconciling with connectivity so that we can maintain the same quality solutions worldwide and deliver consistent and exceptional world class standards anywhere that our projects and clients take us. In this age of globalisation there is little that provides companies with an edge therefore culture needs to be aligned with technology across the entire organisation with the context for people to deliver their best work and put the customer’s needs at the forefront.

It seems obvious, but also relevant to point out, that this alignment allows a company’s margins the natural freedom to thrive. Winning cultures are not solely about making everyone feel good but giving employees the means to be performance focused, unabashedly achieve results and most importantly, provide well-rounded, quality deliverables to the client.

In conclusion, I am bullish that today we can and will maintain a coalition between business culture and technology. The strength based organisations understand that the right technology can carry their culture widespread throughout the organisation. I once read that "the paintings exist to illustrate the text”. Perhaps the same can be said about technology. It drives the emphasis and certainty that keeps the culture obstinately alive.